Latest I have stayed up in a long time. Made my first glass of milk in sketchup! I thought I would need it after last night..
It looks like I get to teach an introduction to Structural Analysis course this spring.
Which got me thinking about the great photos on the “Bridge Photo of the Day” blog showing low cost suspension bridges. (Mark is a volunteer for the bridge building non-profit. )
Bridges to Prosperity is a non-profit that helps to build bridges as part of “the global fight to end extreme poverty in our lifetime. It is a poverty reduction method that is sustainable, scalable, and incredibly efficient.”
The Happy Pontist wrote a great series on the program.
Do yourself a favor and look at the great photos on the bphod, the quality is great (large photos) and I often wonder if I could actually design them…..
Have A Happy New Year!
A video showing the history of the Champlain bridge and one blowing it up..when was the last time a President showed up to open your bridge?
I don’t think I could design the Eiffel tower without a computer. Blueprints here.
Well its tough to design a new bridge every day but I think it would be possible to sketch a bridge design 20 minutes a day (for a year?). The design muscles need flexing and the more you practice the better you will get. (hey it didn’t work for me, hmmmm)
Smashing magazine has a good article for the budding designer.
Have a Happy Holiday!
Well my bridge didn’t win but there are some interesting structures in the National Steel Bridge prize Competition. (pdf file)
I know the Golden Gate bridge is the most famous bridge of color and I know that when you see a white bridge you shout “that’s a Calatrava!” So what other bridges rely on color to enhance their appearance?
Painting a bridge is often frowned upon as a maintenance nightmare. When a bridge is painted, engineers typically stick to blue, red and white. (These colors seem to have stable pigments and last.)
So help me out, send me some links for bridges that rely on their color. A bridge that would lose its identity if you changed the color.
Denis, an engineer in Canada, sent me a picture and some information about the Kicking Horse Pedestrian bridge.
- a) Thanks!
- 2) I’m jealous he gets to go to British Columbia for the Holidays.
Kicking Horse Pedestrian Bridge is the longest freestanding timber frame bridge in Canada. Planned as a community project by the Timber Framers Guild, volunteers from Golden were joined by carpenters and timber framers from the United States and from Europe. The bridge structure is 150 feet (46 m) long, with a 210,000-pound Burr arch structure. The bridge was completed in September 2001.
Here is an image, I made, showing live (people) loads, 50 lbs/sq.ft, 100 lbs/sq.ft and 150 lbs/sq.ft on a 25 foot square.
An advisory committee has recommended a last-minute design as the replacement for the closed Lake Champlain Bridge, set to be demolished in the coming weeks.
The last design, this one created at the last minute, is the moderated arch that officials said is similar to the first arch design but the most like the original bridge. Officials said No. 6 appears to be the favorite amongst the meeting attendees.
Slideshow of the designs here. (really lousy images)
I have been phoning it in lately because of a new work position and the holidays, so I thought I needed a good argument to jumpstart the creative process. This typically means finding another blog with a dumb idea and then setting them straight using the laser like beam of engineering truth. (that’s a joke by the way, see an architect would not get that..)
The big problem is finding other blogs to rail against. I could go down the well worn path of taking on architects but that is getting pretty boring (defense less and all).
So I need some topics. (I will save you some time suggesting the typical ones.)
- Health care – for it
- World peace – for it
- politics – against
- super villains – would be cool (slightly different than politicians but not much)
I have been busy with the holidays but I did take time out to apply for a city commission. I thought since I often complain that engineers don’t join anything (other than professional groups) that I would give the local Public Art Commission a shot.
I don’t know if I will be invited to join but it is a small step to getting involved with the city and the public. (I know it is a small step.) I would be interested to know how many engineers join city commissions, especially ones outside of their comfort zone…
Not the greatest looking structure but one that might be useful to other communities and the price may be right. I wonder how much it would cost to analyze (for future loads) and move?
With less than two weeks before Christmas I thought a little scrooge would be fun. All engineers deal with things that get their goat, so here is your chance to vent…
- CADD – it bugs me to no end that engineers can’t detail, preferring to let technicians put together their plans. (don’t talk to me about time restraints, drawing helps you work out your thoughts…)
- Scale- we have software that can draw to an exact scale, so why are so many drawings not to scale? I want to use cadd drawing to check measurements and help to develop quantities. (I have also worked through a drawing that shows the steel will fit only to realize it won’t)
- Survey feet – sometimes the units we have to use…don’t get me started…
- Examples – the over reliance on examples instead of theory
- The lack of engineering voices in the public square.
- Learning – learning seems to stop for some engineers..
Well thats enough for now, I have to go Christmas shopping…so do you have any to add?
Texas has some big concerns with ASR/DEF-damaged bent caps. (10.5 mb pdf)
Is this site real, Unusual Architecture? Where are the bridges?
Why the Columbia River bridge conversation is in gridlock. The usual reason,
multiple government agencies and special interest groups, all with their own agendas.
The Happy Pontist has outdone himself with a great post on the Leonardo bridge project. I love the ice bridge!
|The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will hold its “ 2010 FHWA Bridge Engineering Conference: Highways for LIFE and Accelerated Bridge Construction” in Orlando , Florida on April 8 and 9, 2010. The conference will be held at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress . The conference is sponsored by FHWA and co-sponsored by 19 DOTs. The audience will include Department of Transportation bridge employees, design professionals, fabricators, contractors, academia and representative s of federal and local public agencies. The 2010 FHWA Bridge Engineering Conference is an ideal forum for sharing the latest advancements in bridge engineering with DOT bridge engineers and owners. Conference topics will mainly include steel, concrete, fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composite and timber bridges. Topics of interest include, but are not limited, to the following:
- Pre-fabricated bridge elements and systems
- Fabrication and construction
- Innovative materials
- Innovative bridge products
- Non-destructive bridge evaluation methodology and techniques
- Steel, c oncrete, t imber and FRP composite bridges
- Accelerated bridge construction
- Design for 100-year service life
- Case studies
- Seismic bridge engineering
You are invited to submit an abstract of a formal paper to be considered for presentation and publication. Abstracts are welcomed from design professionals, university researchers, industry representatives, fabricators, contractors and bridge owners. All papers selected and presented will be published in conference proceedings, available at the conference. Those interested in giving a presentation at the conference should submit a one-page abstract by December 14, 2009. Abstracts should include name and affiliation of the authors, identifying the author who will be giving the presentation and a brief outline of the subject to be presented.
Please e-mail your one - page abstract by December 14, 2009 to Dr. Atorod Azizinamini at email@example.com
Conference Co-Chair Persons
Atorod Azizinamini, Ph.D., P.E.
Professor, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Reggie Holt, P.E.
Louis N. Triandafilou, P.E.
Call 402-472-3029, if you are interested to exhibit at the conference
Visit www.2010bridge.com for more information, conference registration and hotel reservation
This blog started on December 5, 2008, so it has been a whole year of somewhat questionable blog posts…
So here are some that I liked!
- House hits bridge
- Barrier rail crash tests
- Credit for engineering work
- Modern steel magazine article
- Bridge papers by students
- Top Ten Bridge Engineers
Okay I’m tired of looking back…(just made it to June) Maybe what this blog needs is more Tiger! Hey he is on a bridge…..okay we will have a tiger ban.
Okay not bridge related but Americans drinking dirty water….sigh…
An analysis of E.P.A. data shows that Safe Drinking Water Act violations have occurred in parts of every state. In the prosperous town of Ramsey, N.J., for instance, drinking water tests since 2004 have detected illegal concentrations of arsenic, a carcinogen, and the dry cleaning solvent tetrachloroethylene, which has also been linked to cancer.
Okay I have heard of building on nature when modeling architecture and structures. (Think Calatrava designing a bridge based on the skeleton of his dog) But I have never run into the term “bionics“, (well the bionic man) essentially using a proven form from nature as the basis for a structural design.
There are bionic inspired buildings but are there bionic bridges? Should there be?
So do you think this is a fad or can we learn from the many permutations in nature and build better structures?
The Happy Pontist made some great comments concerning my post on should we replace historic bridges.
Specifically he asked,
(1) what if anything sets this bridge apart: if it were lost, would the historic record be significantly diminished; and (2) is the community happy to pay for the more expensive replacement – do they value the reduced maintenance liability (and other functional benefits) over the heritage importance?
Before we get to those questions, I will give a quick overview on the requirements for being listed on the historic register. From the National Register website.
To be considered eligible, a property must meet the National Register Criteria for Evaluation. This involves examining the property’s age, integrity, and significance.
- Age and Integrity. Is the property old enough to be considered historic (generally at least 50 years old) and does it still look much the way it did in the past?
- Significance. Is the property associated with events, activities, or developments that were important in the past? With the lives of people who were important in the past? With significant architectural history, landscape history, or engineering achievements? Does it have the potential to yield information through archeological investigation about our past?
This is a pretty low bar. The Keosauqua Bridge was over 50 years old and it looked exactly as it did when it was built, so check (piers about 130 years old). Significance, well the bridge was probably the only long span camel back Warren truss in our state. Its history is tied into the development of the adjacent city and still played a major part in their transportation needs.
Is this enough to merit historic register status? I doubt it but like HP says we are a fairly young county and I doubt you can find many structures (bridges) more than a 100 years old in any state. (The city of Keosauqua was establish in 1839, so it is only a 170 years old.)
Historic Register status also protects (slightly) a structure from being torn down wily-nily and may add to its worth as a tourist attraction or at least give a community a place of pride.
Finally to answer HP’s questions.
1) No it probably is not a truly significant bridge type (warren truss) unless you consider it was the only one of its kind in the state.
2) The locals wanted to keep the bridge but historic status does not carry significant weight to protect it from being replaced by a Government agency. The best you can hope for is some mitigation for the loss of your historic structure.
It is tough out there and I wonder if the new paradigm for engineers will be freelancing. Not a small consulting company as such but drifting around and working on a part-time basis for multiple engineering firms on a fixed project rate. (maybe that is consulting?)
The advantages (of course) for engineering firms is flexibility, no overhead and no insurance coverage. An engineering firm can grow and shrink as the work demands. The advantage for roving engineers is also flexibility and the joys of working from home in your pajamas. (Also reduced commuting times, etc)
Graeme over at his “a place of sense” blog gives some advice for new engineers looking for work.
More advice about freelancing here, “15 helpful blogs no freelancer should forget.”
And from the zenhabits blog, how to become great at something…
It takes anywhere from 6-10 years to get great at something, depending on how often and how much you do it. Some estimate that it takes 10,000 hours to master something, but I think it varies from person to person and depends on the skill and other factors.
My wife has started a new online food store geared towards the vegan lifestyle and I have to give her a shout out!
Congratulations on the new venture!
Some revolutionary projects?
Will there ever be a ginormous step forward in bridge design like suspension, cable, prestress bridges again? Or is it incremental all the way? (If you have the answer just email me and I swear I will keep it quiet…)
I received some great comments and I think they are worth adding to this post. I agree the most likely steps forward will be ABC (that is why I bought the name!) and new materials. I also think a combination of the two will become the biggest market share in the future, ABC repair of existing structures.
As you already know, the revolution in bridge design is in accelerated bridge construction. Society wants to see bridges built in a few months, not a few years.
Today, 100 feet of bridge can be built in a day. The quarter mile trestle approach to the Southern Pacific Bridge was completed in two weeks. The seven mile long San Mateo Bridge across San Francisco Bay was built in about a year.
The key is the development of pre-manufactured elements that can be brought to the bridge site and quickly assembled. The challenge will be to use these elements to create something amazing!
The tunable bridge idea maybe points the way. There has been a fair bit of research into “active” structural systems which alter their configuration in response to applied loads e.g. by using electronics to monitor strains and hydraulics to modify structural geometry. There’s plenty of scope to expand these further with intelligent bridges which change their stiffness, damping etc in response to the environment; imagine a bridge which responds to thermal expansion by shortening itself, for example. The difficulty with all of these is identifying a mechanical system which is robust and failure-proof!
In the material arena, I can think of one or two possible successors to FRP, but not to share on here where the competition can read about them!
In response to the Happy Pontist, I think active control has more possibilities for buildings that have permanent maintenance crews to monitor and service the equipment.
Except for a few toll bridges, 99% of bridges are maintained by road crews and inspected by engineers every two years.
Before the Happy Pontist’s revolution, a prior revolution of allocating more resources to maintain bridges after they are built would have to occur.